Whether we are 20 or 55 years old, love is a very peculiar emotion and when pain leads us to give up on it for various reasons, the prospect of meeting someone can be terrifying. How should we behave? How can we tell that everything about love does not necessarily involve suffering?
“Today, romantic encounters are idealized, ardently sought, notes Gerard Bonnet, psychoanalyst and author, but it does not necessarily mean that we are ready, in reality, to make room for someone else in our life.” In other words, it would stem less from our unconscious desire than from our own will.
It happens in the body
According to Gonzague Masquelier, author of Gestalt Therapy: Living Creatively Today, gestalt-therapist, before going to a new date, “we should wash away the old wounds of our affective life, all the blocked emotions that are still active (sadness, resentment, anger) and that prevent us from welcoming the other.” He adds that among toxics of the past is what we call introjections in gestalt-therapy, which are false or limiting beliefs that we inherited from childhood or integrated after painful events. “It ranges from generalities about men or women to preconceived ideas about couples and sexuality and certainties concerning our supposed deficiencies or incompetence,” says Gonzague Masquelier, who believes that only the awareness of their existence and nuisance can free us.
According to Rose-Marie Charest, psychologist and author, a true romantic encounter always involves upheaval, internal and external. It is powerfully transformative. “It is not only a bond that adds to the others but an experience of creativity: it is a new territory to build that necessarily impinges on individual territories.”
No magic recipe
Of course, there is no magic recipe to make “the” perfect partner. But, according to the coach Bénédicte Ann, author and creator of the Café de l’amour, some rules are good to know. In her recent book, she suggests a process in five steps to avoid casting mistakes.
Five steps to follow
1. Make peace with your romantic past
To become aware of your barriers, ask yourself two key questions: what did the other take away from me when we parted (self-esteem, spontaneity, joy, etc.)? And what hidden benefits did I enjoy in my previous relationships?
2. Take your share of responsibility
“Am I afraid to suffer?”, “Am I afraid to loose control?”, “Am I afraid to be wrong again?”. Asking yourself questions and answering them allow you to measure your negative projections in the relational dynamics.
3. Reflect the reality
Do not tell yourself stories (“With me, it will be different”), take the negative signals into account (emotions, sensations, impressions), dare to ask direct questions (“Are you divorced?”) in order to be part of an open approach that deals with reality, not fantasies.
4. Define your project
Three questions need to be worked on, in writing: - What moved me (positively) in my previous relationships? – What type of project do I want to share (start a family, change my lifestyle, preserve my territory)? –Why do I want a relationship? (Because I feel ready to love again, because I enjoy life as a couple).
5. Meeting someone nice… for you
Does your partner want to date or build? Are they really available? What are their motives? For what reasons did their previous relationships fail? What is their ideal project of living with someone? All indicators to know and that could inform your thinking.